Science & Speed | Emma Clor may work in the sciences, but her heart remains with running [Cover]

Emma Clor demonstrates the process of using plates to determine if strands of the COVID-19 virus contain antibodies.

Emma Clor has always loved to run.

She started running long distance in middle school and didn’t stop until she graduated from DePauw University in 2015. Now, she’s an assistant coach for Franklin College’s track and field teams.

“It’s a passion of mine, but I’ve taken a lot of time off after graduating,” Clor said. “So, it’s been really exciting to get back into it and have some support. I support them and they support me.”

Clor isn’t just an assistant track coach, though. She also works full-time at B2S Life Sciences, a start-up biotechnology company in Franklin. Her fiancé Doug Baker, an assistant cross country coach for Franklin College, had heard about the open position and told Clor right away, and next thing she knew, she was hired.

Clor said she does a lot of different things related to the sciences day-to-day, so she’s never quite sure what any day will bring. One thing that all of her tasks have in common is that she’s always working to solve problems.

One of the biggest developments that Clor helped with was the creation of an inventory management system for all of their clients. She said it’s almost like an Amazon, where clients can see how many vials of everything they have, and they can order more when they start to get low. And now, she continues to meet with a lot of clients to help them navigate the platform.

B2S Life Sciences also works with life cycle management. Clor said they monitor the life cycle of different reagents—like vaccines—by continuing to test them to make sure they are good for use throughout the whole time they are used.

She started coaching this school year, and she said it has been really interesting to try coaching for the first time during a pandemic because she’s not sure what a normal season looks like. She said it’s different and exciting every day.

Baker said coaches and athletes alike bonded with her very quickly.

“She doesn’t necessarily have the understanding that her presence and her encouragement and all that is enough for [being assistant coach],” Baker said.

He said she wants to do everything she can to support the athletes, including running with them and listening to them talk about their problems.

Sophomore Lex Desenberg, a cross country and track runner, said that having Clor as a coach is really nice because she keeps everyone in a good mood and has brought the morale up for the team.

“When we go out for a run, she’s either got fun socks on, or she’s got a fun mask on. So, she just brings that extra sense of happiness to running,” Desenberg said. “And sometimes running’s not fun, and she makes it fun.”

Desenberg said the cross country team had a costume run for Halloween, and Clor completely dressed up for it, sporting a wig, hat, and fake ears.

Clor has also brought her and Baker’s dogs to practice before, which helped to boost the runners’ moods.

She added that since Clor is the women’s track team’s first female coach at Franklin College, they feel they can talk more openly about things that they may not discuss while running with a male coach.

“She makes steady runs and easy runs fun because I don’t feel like I’m showing up and talking to a guy,” Desenberg said.

Baker voiced the same sentiment. He thinks that having a female coach picks up the women runners more than having a male coach. He said it’s good that she’s around and can offer that different perspective.

Aside from running, Clor really likes to travel. She has been to multiple cities and countries across the world, including Paris, London, Dublin, Mexico and even China.

She said her favorite trip was to Mexico since she could speak Spanish, which made the experience more exciting and immersive.

When she goes to all of these places around the world, she said everyone will be taking pictures of the architecture or famous landmarks, but not her. She takes pictures of pigeons.

She cares for the little birds, even rescuing one after it was hit by a power washer when the B2S Life Sciences building was being renovated.

“I helped rescue it and get it to the vet clinic so that they could take it to a bird sanctuary,” Clor said.

Even though she has graduated with a degree in biology and has been working in the field for years, Clor said she’s still not completely convinced she wants to be a biochemist.

She said she didn’t grow up planning to be a scientist. It was more like life had just led her on that path for now.

Clor said she would like to continue coaching at Franklin College for as long as they’ll let her. Since her job is stressful, she said coaching is the highlight of her day.

“It’s so nice to come and hang out with the Franklin [College] community and just be there and support the team and run,” she said.

While Baker supports her work at B2S Life Sciences, he’s glad that she has a reason to leave by a certain time in the day, so she’s not working overtime so much, which can be stressful for her.

“I think coaching has given her balance that maybe she didn’t have before,” Baker said. “And it clearly makes her happier, but it’s also clearly making the athletes happier, too.”

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